Koth vs Venser Insert - Error

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Hey all


I bought the Koth vs Venser Duel Deck today, and I noticed a problem in the rules/strategy insert that tells you how to use the decks (5rd paragraph of Koth's page):

 "Later, you can cast him and use him (Koth) and use his mana ability to follow up with a powerful creature..."  

However, the Comp Rules say:

"605.1a An activated ability is a mana ability if it meets three criteria: it doesn't have a target, it could put mana into a player's mana pool when it resolves, and it's not a loyalty ability. (See rule 606, "Loyalty Abilities.")"
   
Apparantly, Matt and Del edited the product, so I am surprised they let this slip through...  

(Yes, I am being a bit tongue-in-cheek here, and not entirely serious. However, players seem to struggle to understand what a "mana ability" is already (for example, some think that any ability that costs mana is a mana ability) - getting it wrong in an official instruction guide doesnt sound like a good idea to me, so there kinda is a point to this thread)

:P

~ Tim
I am Blue/White Reached DCI Rating 1800 on 28/10/11. :D
Sig
56287226 wrote:
190106923 wrote:
Not bad. But what happens flavor wise when one kamahl kills the other one?
Zis iz a sign uf deep psychological troma, buried in zer subconscious mind. By keelink himzelf, Kamahl iz physically expressink hiz feelinks uf self-disgust ova hiz desire for hiz muzzer. [/GermanPsychologistVoice]
56957928 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
That makes no sense to me. If they spelled the ability out on the card in full then it would not be allowed in a mono-black Commander deck, but because they used a keyword to save space it is allowed? ~ Tim
Yup, just like you can have Birds of paradise in a mono green deck but not Noble Hierarch. YAY COLOR IDENTITY
56287226 wrote:
56888618 wrote:
Is algebra really that difficult?
Survey says yes.
56883218 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
You want to make a milky drink. You squeeze a cow.
I love this description. Like the cows are sponges filled with milk. I can see it all Nick Parks claymation-style with the cow's eyes bugging out momentarily as a giant farmer squeezes it like a squeaky dog toy, and milk shoots out of it.
56287226 wrote:
56735468 wrote:
And no judge will ever give you a game loss for playing snow covered lands.
I now have a new goal in life. ;)
(5rd paragraph of Koth's page)

Did you mean to say 3rd paragraph or 5th paragraph?
What is the reason that Loyalty abilities can't be mana abilities?
What is the reason that Loyalty abilities can't be mana abilities?

The rules explicitly disallow that.
605.1a An activated ability is a mana ability if it meets three criteria: it doesn’t have a target, it could put mana into a player’s mana pool when it resolves, and it’s not a loyalty ability.

As for why, I believe the reason is that, if Koth's second ability were a mana ability, it could be activated when mana abilities can be when asked for a payment including mana.
Still blessed by Julia of Hillsdown. M:tG Rules Adviser You are Red/Blue!
You are Red/Blue!
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
(5rd paragraph of Koth's page)

Did you mean to say 3rd paragraph or 5th paragraph?


Its the 5th, or the 6th if you include the intro at the top. Whatever... its the last paragraph (almost said that to start with (wish I had now)). ;)

As for why, I believe the reason is that, if Koth's second ability were a mana ability, it could be activated when mana abilities can be when asked for a payment including mana.


Wouldnt the normal timing restrictions for Loyalty abilities stop that anyway? 

Maybe it was just to make it use the stack (so it could be Stifled etc)?

---

Back to the original topic: it got me wondering, how are new players expected to learn what a mana ability is (without looking up the definition in the Comp Rules - something that new players arent supposed to do)? Neither of the inserts in the Duel Deck tell you (and the part I quoted earlier actually gets it wrong)... So I downloaded the Basic Rulebook, which says this:
"Each basic land has a mana ability that makes one mana of a particular color.
and:

"Mana ability



An ability that adds mana to your mana pool. Mana abilities can be activated abilities or triggered abilities. A mana ability doesn’t go on the stack when you activate it or it triggers—you simply get the mana immediately."

Which is also an incomplete definition, and doesnt make it sound like Loyalty abilities cant be Mana abilities (since they can fit that description). 


On the other hand, I can only find 43 cards in Gatherer that use the term, and nothing since M10 (barring reprints in precons like the Commander decks or other Duel Decks). Is the term being kept off cards deliberately? Is it supposed to be a rule buried beneath the surface of the game?
 
~ Tim
I am Blue/White Reached DCI Rating 1800 on 28/10/11. :D
Sig
56287226 wrote:
190106923 wrote:
Not bad. But what happens flavor wise when one kamahl kills the other one?
Zis iz a sign uf deep psychological troma, buried in zer subconscious mind. By keelink himzelf, Kamahl iz physically expressink hiz feelinks uf self-disgust ova hiz desire for hiz muzzer. [/GermanPsychologistVoice]
56957928 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
That makes no sense to me. If they spelled the ability out on the card in full then it would not be allowed in a mono-black Commander deck, but because they used a keyword to save space it is allowed? ~ Tim
Yup, just like you can have Birds of paradise in a mono green deck but not Noble Hierarch. YAY COLOR IDENTITY
56287226 wrote:
56888618 wrote:
Is algebra really that difficult?
Survey says yes.
56883218 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
You want to make a milky drink. You squeeze a cow.
I love this description. Like the cows are sponges filled with milk. I can see it all Nick Parks claymation-style with the cow's eyes bugging out momentarily as a giant farmer squeezes it like a squeaky dog toy, and milk shoots out of it.
56287226 wrote:
56735468 wrote:
And no judge will ever give you a game loss for playing snow covered lands.
I now have a new goal in life. ;)
On the other hand, I can only find 43 cards in Gatherer that use the term, and nothing since M10 (barring reprints in precons like the Commander decks or other Duel Decks). Is the term being kept off cards deliberately? Is it supposed to be a rule buried beneath the surface of the game?



I can't find the article, but I recall reading that when making magic 2012 they considered making grand abolisher's ability effect all activated abilities except mana abilities.  They changed to the current wording when because there reaserch indicated that too many players didn't know the definition of a mana ability.
Edit: Found the article.
On the other hand, I can only find 43 cards in Gatherer that use the term, and nothing since M10 (barring reprints in precons like the Commander decks or other Duel Decks). Is the term being kept off cards deliberately? Is it supposed to be a rule buried beneath the surface of the game?



I can't find the article, but I recall reading that when making magic 2012 they considered making grand abolisher's ability effect all activated abilities except mana abilities.  They changed to the current wording when because there reaserch indicated that too few many players didn't know the definition of a mana ability.



I know that one. When I first started playing, I thought activated mana abilities didn't count as activated abilities...
56965458 wrote:
As long as it's random, I really can't see where's the problem. Anyway, there's already a few standard ways for doing this. We listed them in this thread. If someone does the bogey-bogey, eats the cards, waits until they come out, look out the approximate order, place replacements in the same order, calls the president to ask him to give him a string of numbers, puts the card in the given order, then pick the cards in the order given by taking the date of birth of his opponent, reversed, and taking only every other number, then a judge can clearly declare that he's random enough.
56874518 wrote:
The beauty of sarcasm is that when the person using it is totally incorrect, you can just remove the sarcasm and end up with a post that is actually correct.
As for why, I believe the reason is that, if Koth's second ability were a mana ability, it could be activated when mana abilities can be when asked for a payment including mana.


Wouldnt the normal timing restrictions for Loyalty abilities stop that anyway?

Apparently not.
I checked the September 2010 Update Bulletin and found this.
605.1a
A new criterion for an ability to qualify as a mana ability was added: it can't be a loyalty ability. Without this addition, the timing rules for mana abilities would have conflicted (and overrode) the timing rules for loyalty abilities. This ensure's that Koth of the Hammer's second ability is not a mana ability.

Still blessed by Julia of Hillsdown. M:tG Rules Adviser You are Red/Blue!
You are Red/Blue!
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
Some interesting stuff, thanks guys!

Maybe Wizards should bite the bullet, and print a deliberately educational card that references Mana Abilities, and then explains what they are with reminder text, in M13.

Until players do know what they are though, I think they should avoid printing incomplete explainations or using the term incorrectly.    

~ Tim 
I am Blue/White Reached DCI Rating 1800 on 28/10/11. :D
Sig
56287226 wrote:
190106923 wrote:
Not bad. But what happens flavor wise when one kamahl kills the other one?
Zis iz a sign uf deep psychological troma, buried in zer subconscious mind. By keelink himzelf, Kamahl iz physically expressink hiz feelinks uf self-disgust ova hiz desire for hiz muzzer. [/GermanPsychologistVoice]
56957928 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
That makes no sense to me. If they spelled the ability out on the card in full then it would not be allowed in a mono-black Commander deck, but because they used a keyword to save space it is allowed? ~ Tim
Yup, just like you can have Birds of paradise in a mono green deck but not Noble Hierarch. YAY COLOR IDENTITY
56287226 wrote:
56888618 wrote:
Is algebra really that difficult?
Survey says yes.
56883218 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
You want to make a milky drink. You squeeze a cow.
I love this description. Like the cows are sponges filled with milk. I can see it all Nick Parks claymation-style with the cow's eyes bugging out momentarily as a giant farmer squeezes it like a squeaky dog toy, and milk shoots out of it.
56287226 wrote:
56735468 wrote:
And no judge will ever give you a game loss for playing snow covered lands.
I now have a new goal in life. ;)
Seems to me like someone used the common-English expression "mana ability" (i.e. "ability that makes mana") and forgot that this term has a specific rules meaning that the card does not meet.
Seems to me like someone used the common-English expression "mana ability" (i.e. "ability that makes mana") and forgot that this term has a specific rules meaning that the card does not meet.


I would like to hope that that is the case (rather than Wizards putting someone in charge of writing an instruction leaflet when they dont actually know the rules).

~ Tim
I am Blue/White Reached DCI Rating 1800 on 28/10/11. :D
Sig
56287226 wrote:
190106923 wrote:
Not bad. But what happens flavor wise when one kamahl kills the other one?
Zis iz a sign uf deep psychological troma, buried in zer subconscious mind. By keelink himzelf, Kamahl iz physically expressink hiz feelinks uf self-disgust ova hiz desire for hiz muzzer. [/GermanPsychologistVoice]
56957928 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
That makes no sense to me. If they spelled the ability out on the card in full then it would not be allowed in a mono-black Commander deck, but because they used a keyword to save space it is allowed? ~ Tim
Yup, just like you can have Birds of paradise in a mono green deck but not Noble Hierarch. YAY COLOR IDENTITY
56287226 wrote:
56888618 wrote:
Is algebra really that difficult?
Survey says yes.
56883218 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
You want to make a milky drink. You squeeze a cow.
I love this description. Like the cows are sponges filled with milk. I can see it all Nick Parks claymation-style with the cow's eyes bugging out momentarily as a giant farmer squeezes it like a squeaky dog toy, and milk shoots out of it.
56287226 wrote:
56735468 wrote:
And no judge will ever give you a game loss for playing snow covered lands.
I now have a new goal in life. ;)
I checked the September 2010 Update Bulletin and found this.
605.1a
A new criterion for an ability to qualify as a mana ability was added: it can't be a loyalty ability. Without this addition, the timing rules for mana abilities would have conflicted (and overrode) the timing rules for loyalty abilities. This ensure's that Koth of the Hammer's second ability is not a mana ability.



Now the question is: Why don't the timing rules for normal activated abilities override the timing rules for loyalty abilities?

Maybe Wizards should bite the bullet, and print a deliberately educational card that references Mana Abilities, and then explains what they are with reminder text, in M13.

That does not seem that useful to me. There are only a handfull of cases where a player needs to know what a mana ability is.
Now the question is: Why don't the timing rules for normal activated abilities override the timing rules for loyalty abilities?

My answer? Because Magic works by giving a set of permissions, and these permissions are additive.

Normal abilities can be activated whenever a player could cast an instant, unless a rule or effect states the ability can only be activated when a player could cast a sorcery. Thie restriction is incorporated into the rules to avoid having to print "Activate this ability only when you could cast a sorcery" three or more times per Planeswalker; which would cut down the available space for abilities significantly.

However, you get additional permission to activate mana abilities during the process of casting a spell, activating an ability or resolving a spell, ability or special action. I believe it is this permission that sidesteps the restriction.

I can think of two cards that have mana abilities with a restriction that prevents them being activated during the casting of a spell or other similar times when you don't have priority, and they are Lion's Eye Diamond and Rhystic Cave. They have the timing restriction of being cast only when you could cast an instant. (They could say "only when you have priority," but avoid that probably because "priority" is not being used in its normal English sense.)

I guess that, given a choice between adding the "Activate only when you could cast a sorcery" rider to Koth's second ability and changing the rules so loyalty abilities can't be mana abilities, they chose the latter as less problematic.
Still blessed by Julia of Hillsdown. M:tG Rules Adviser You are Red/Blue!
You are Red/Blue!
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
Thie restriction is incorporated into the rules to avoid having to print "Activate this ability only when you could cast a sorcery" three or more times per Planeswalker; which would cut down the available space for abilities significantly.

However, you get additional permission to activate mana abilities during the process of casting a spell, activating an ability or resolving a spell, ability or special action. I believe it is this permission that sidesteps the restriction.

Additional permissions can't sidestep restrictions, but they wouldn't have to here. The important thing to note about loyalty abilities is that they do not impose a restriction that it has to be any time you could cast a sorcery. Instead, the rules for loyalty abilities give you permission to play it at that time, and just omit mention of any other times. Notice that the word "only" is absent from the text in bold (yes, it uses the word "only" for the second part, and that part is a restriction)
606.3. A player may activate a loyalty ability of a permanent he or she controls any time he or she has priority and the stack is empty during a main phase of his or her turn, but only if no player has previously activated a loyalty ability of that permanent that turn.

So if something else comes along (ie, the rules for mana abilities) and grants an additional permission, 606.3 has no complaint about that, provided no loyalty ability of that permanent has been activated yet this turn.
I can think of two cards that have mana abilities with a restriction that prevents them being activated during the casting of a spell or other similar times when you don't have priority, and they are Lion's Eye Diamond  and Rhystic Cave .

Grinning Ignus
Even setting aside the possibility that it being a mana ability would change the timing rules, I think it's a good thing that Koth's ability isn't a mana ability.  Mana abilities are special in that they resolve immediately, without needing to use the stack.  This property is absolutely essential in order for mana abilities to work while something is being cast/activated or while something is resolving.  However, if the ability doesn't have these special timing opportunities, resolving immediately just seems inconsistent.

Maybe the rules of mana abilities should even be tweaked so that those "only whenever you could cast an instant/sorcery" abilities are excluded.
Now the question is: Why don't the timing rules for normal activated abilities override the timing rules for loyalty abilities?

My answer? Because Magic works by giving a set of permissions, and these permissions are additive.


Precisely. There's a rule telling us that we can activate abilities whenever we have priority. This includes loyalty abilities. There's no rule stopping this from applying to loyalty abilities. There's just another rule that grants additional permissions to activate loyalty abilities plus a restriction to do so only once per turn. Therefore, the rules allow for loyalty abilities to be played during combat or during an opponent's turn. Even if we all know that's not right

Some interesting stuff, thanks guys!

Maybe Wizards should bite the bullet, and print a deliberately educational card that references Mana Abilities, and then explains what they are with reminder text, in M13.

Until players do know what they are though, I think they should avoid printing incomplete explainations or using the term incorrectly.    

~ Tim 



*fires up the editor*

Like this?

Like this?



Would be even better if you could work into it the fact that mana abilities dont use the stack so cannot be responded to, but yeah, thats the sort of thing (or even a reprint of one of the cards the mentions them, like Pithing Needle - only with reminder text).

~ Tim 
I am Blue/White Reached DCI Rating 1800 on 28/10/11. :D
Sig
56287226 wrote:
190106923 wrote:
Not bad. But what happens flavor wise when one kamahl kills the other one?
Zis iz a sign uf deep psychological troma, buried in zer subconscious mind. By keelink himzelf, Kamahl iz physically expressink hiz feelinks uf self-disgust ova hiz desire for hiz muzzer. [/GermanPsychologistVoice]
56957928 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
That makes no sense to me. If they spelled the ability out on the card in full then it would not be allowed in a mono-black Commander deck, but because they used a keyword to save space it is allowed? ~ Tim
Yup, just like you can have Birds of paradise in a mono green deck but not Noble Hierarch. YAY COLOR IDENTITY
56287226 wrote:
56888618 wrote:
Is algebra really that difficult?
Survey says yes.
56883218 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
You want to make a milky drink. You squeeze a cow.
I love this description. Like the cows are sponges filled with milk. I can see it all Nick Parks claymation-style with the cow's eyes bugging out momentarily as a giant farmer squeezes it like a squeaky dog toy, and milk shoots out of it.
56287226 wrote:
56735468 wrote:
And no judge will ever give you a game loss for playing snow covered lands.
I now have a new goal in life. ;)
Like this?



Would be even better if you could work into it the fact that mana abilities dont use the stack so cannot be responded to, but yeah, thats the sort of thing (or even a reprint of one of the cards the mentions them, like Pithing Needle - only with reminder text).

~ Tim 



I think it would be nice. Mentioning the stack in reminder text seems fine (Sundial of the Infinite), but the whole thing might be a little wordy.
Some interesting stuff, thanks guys!

Maybe Wizards should bite the bullet, and print a deliberately educational card that references Mana Abilities, and then explains what they are with reminder text, in M13.

Until players do know what they are though, I think they should avoid printing incomplete explainations or using the term incorrectly.    

~ Tim 



*fires up the editor*

Like this?




... and is also not a triggered ability, unless that ability triggered from a mana ability.



I don't think I'd edit the Venser vs. Koth insert any differently if I had it to do over. The phrase is in a paragraph about how to use Koth at various points in the game. Pointing at a planeswalker's middle ability is a tough thing to do in running text. If I tried to prevent the words "mana" and "ability" from ever appearing next to each other, I'd be creating a "yellow oblong fruit" problem for the insert's target audience.

Del Laugel

Editing manager, Magic TCG

You could call it "his mana-producing ability."

I think it is fine the way it was written and is not likely to confuse anyone.
I was going to suggest "mana-producing ability", but PirateAmmo beat me to it.
I was going to suggest "mana-producing ability", but PirateAmmo beat me to it.


Sounded good to me too. Alternatively, what about "his [-2] ability", or just "his second ability"?

~ Tim 
 


I am Blue/White Reached DCI Rating 1800 on 28/10/11. :D
Sig
56287226 wrote:
190106923 wrote:
Not bad. But what happens flavor wise when one kamahl kills the other one?
Zis iz a sign uf deep psychological troma, buried in zer subconscious mind. By keelink himzelf, Kamahl iz physically expressink hiz feelinks uf self-disgust ova hiz desire for hiz muzzer. [/GermanPsychologistVoice]
56957928 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
That makes no sense to me. If they spelled the ability out on the card in full then it would not be allowed in a mono-black Commander deck, but because they used a keyword to save space it is allowed? ~ Tim
Yup, just like you can have Birds of paradise in a mono green deck but not Noble Hierarch. YAY COLOR IDENTITY
56287226 wrote:
56888618 wrote:
Is algebra really that difficult?
Survey says yes.
56883218 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
You want to make a milky drink. You squeeze a cow.
I love this description. Like the cows are sponges filled with milk. I can see it all Nick Parks claymation-style with the cow's eyes bugging out momentarily as a giant farmer squeezes it like a squeaky dog toy, and milk shoots out of it.
56287226 wrote:
56735468 wrote:
And no judge will ever give you a game loss for playing snow covered lands.
I now have a new goal in life. ;)
I was going to suggest "mana-producing ability", but PirateAmmo beat me to it.


Sounded good to me too. Alternatively, what about "his [-2] ability", or just "his second ability"?

~ Tim

"his second ability". This.
[c]Forest[/c] gives you Forest